Let the Ultra HD wars begin. LG’s 79-inch 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 ) Ultra HD TV has officially hit the streets. Well, actually it hit the isle of one California dealer, Video and Audio Center in Santa Monica.
The Ultra HD landscape has grown up, and it’s grown up fast. It seems just like yesterday that 4K smart TVs were running around in diapers pulling the dog’s tail. Remember in late 2012 when LG rolled out its first Ultra HD TV—an 84-inch model that cost $17,000? Less than two years have passed and now we have a 79-inch TV that’s less than half the price, and better featured.
Also back in 2012 there was nothing to watch in 4K. Now there’s… um, well, maybe everything hasn’t grown up as fast—or has it? Keep reading.
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Anyway, LG’s 79UB9800 does all the things a 2014 Ultra HD smart TV should do. It includes 4 HDMI 2.0 ports and the H.265 codec (HEVC), making it compatible with newer Ultra HD video content as it becomes available. The H.265 decoding capability applies not just to content that’s streamed directly to the TV over the internet, but also to 4K content coming in through the USB connection, such as on a portable hard drive.
If you don’t have a steady supply of 4K content, don’t worry, the TV includes a multistep upscaling processor to convert standard high definition video to the set’s native 4K resolution.
The 79UB9800 uses an IPS (In-plane switching) LED LCD panel which produces wider viewing angles and better contrast.
This TV, and all the models in the series, use LG’s Smart TV+ platform based on webOS, which features a launch bar to make accessing services like Netflix (including Netflix 4K content), Amazon, and Hulu easier.
The TV includes LG’s Magic Remote with voice recognition capability, built-in Wi-Fi and passive 3D with Dual Play for gaming.The TV’s built-in speakers were developed by harman/kardon.
By the way, if a 79-inch TV doesn’t quite cover the wall you reserved for your next flat screen, LG has 84- and 98-inch models coming later this year in the same UB9800 series.
And in related news, Netflix just announced that Break Bad is available streamed in 4K now, so it’s time to get shopping.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.